Formula One: Leclerc takes pole from Verstappen for Spanish GP

Charles Leclerc celebrates after qualifying in pole position for the Spanish grand prix. PHOTOS: REUTERS

MONTMELO, SPAIN (AFP) - Ferrari's world championship leader Charles Leclerc grabbed pole for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen in qualifying at a sweltering Montmelo circuit on Saturday (May 21).

Local man Carlos Sainz cheered the huge home support to start Sunday's race on the second row in the other Ferrari where he will be joined by the Mercedes of George Russell.

Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull is on the third row with Lewis Hamilton for company in the other Mercedes.

Leclerc leads Verstappen by 19 points going into this sixth race of the season and was thrilled with his fourth pole of the year.

"Wow, the lap was good," he said over the team radio.

Leclerc was up against it after his first flying lap in the third qualifying session reserved for the top 10 drivers ended in an unscripted spin out of turn 15.

But he brushed that embarrassment aside to return to plant his Ferrari at the head of the grid with a lap of 1min 18.750sec.

Mercedes have enjoyed the benefit of their upgrades reducing the problem of bouncing but despite encouraging lap times and the presence of 20-time Grand Slam tennis legend Roger Federer in their garage they were still left waiting for their first pole of a difficult start to the 2022 season.

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